A lot of things during Saturday night's 38-14 loss at Indiana baffled Kentucky coach Rich Brooks. However, nothing baffled him more than what he heard after the game.
At least two key UK players - quarterback Andre Woodson and running back
Rafael Little - both indicated they felt the Wildcats might have been
overconfident going into the game based on last year's easy win over Indiana
"How we can be overconfident against anybody blows my mind," Brooks said Sunday.
Don't worry, coach. You have plenty of company. Any Kentucky fan has to feel
the same way and be embarrassed by the pathetic performance the Wildcats had
"To think we are some special team and take anybody lightly or be confident
thinking this will be an easy game for us does baffle me," Brooks said. "I
have an older mind than most of my players. I am more aware of the pitfalls. I
obviously did not have the ability to communicate that to them."
True, but a come-from-behind win over Division I-AA Idaho State a week earlier
should have been message enough to any Kentucky player that the Wildcats were
far from a national powerhouse. Now one has to wonder if UK is even any better
than last year's 2-9 team.
Obviously, so many injuries to key players have taken a huge toll on the
Wildcats. And the hit list just keeps getting longer. Brooks said not counting
players who are out because of surgeries, the Cats had 21 players unable to
practice today. The list included some notable new players such as defensive
end Durrell White, cornerback Antoine Huffman, offensive guard Trai Williams,
safety Roger Williams, running back Draak Davis and kicker Taylor Begley.
"Physically, we are beat," Brooks said. "Obviously we are not as good as we
could have been if we had not had these injuries. It doesn't take a rocket
scientist to figure out all the prominent players who did not play in the
(Indiana) game would have helped, and maybe made a major difference. But we
don't have the choice of looking at that wonderful vision."
Instead, Kentucky needs a miracle to save its season - and take the heat off
Brooks' future - as it prepares to host Florida in a game CBS-TV will air
"I think this will be a severe test for all the things this team was talking
about in the preseason and the first game or two about renewed enthusiasm,
character and spirit. This is a total gut check," Brooks said in his
characteristic blunt fashion. "Now we are going on CBS against Florida, who
obviously is one of premier teams in the nation. We better check our hold card
and see what we are made of."
That's because Brooks knows UK fans will test his team as much as Florida this
week. Radio talk shows were full of speculation this morning about Brooks'
future and UK likely not winning a game again this year. Some fans were even
calling for president Lee Todd and athletics director Mitch Barnhart to be
banished because of the football team's failure.
"I basically told them after the game that if they think being a team is
important, they are going to find out how important now because whatever
people were starting to think we had a chance and were believing in us were
going to lose a lot of that belief because we haven't done the things that we
all want to happen," Brooks said. "From a public standpoint, it's going to be
very difficult. We just have to see if we can go out and regain that respect
Which is going to be a lot harder than anyone ever imagined it would be
because of Saturday's dismal performance.
VAUGHT: Overconfidence by Cats baffles Rich Brooks
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